Fishing picks up as ice melts |

Fishing picks up as ice melts

Doug Busey
Special to the Tribune
Courtesy photo"Mac The Naw" columnist Doug Busey, left, fishing with friend Dana Judd of Carson City, Nev., at Indian Creek Sunday. They caught 2-to 3.5-pound trout.

Hello fellow anglers. Things are changing in our fishing world. The days are getting longer and our higher lakes are thawing out. It’s the time of year to put away the ice fishing gear and take advantage of open shore fishing. As you will read in your local fishing report.

LAKE TAHOE: Best areas have still been Dollar and Sugar Pine points. This time of year you will have to do some target fishing as the schools are always on the move. Anglers using flashers and a live minnow have found the best fishing in 160-to 190-feet of water. Again targeting schools right on the bottom. Captain Gene St Denis reports that mackinaw action is excellent right now.

Gene has fished these areas as well as the Cal-Neva point in 240 feet of water right off the spear of the point. Mackinaw has averaged 2 to 6 pounds with a few fish in the 7-to 9-pound range. Toplining is hit or miss. Last week, Gene reported he thought he hooked a buoy until the buoy fought back. After a 40-minute fight with what he thought was a big brown or a mac, the fish shook its head and said that was enough and broke the line. Best areas have been Zephyr Point, Deadman’s Point or Sand Harbor. The fish are getting more active with the longer daylight and slightly warming temperatures, if you can call it warming. For more info call Blue Ribbon Fishing Charters at 530-544-6552.

CAPLES LAKE: The lake is thawing out slowly, which means keep off. John Voss said the lake should be completely thawed by the middle of May. This brings the best opportunities to do some awesome shore fishing. Remember to use caution around the edges of any lake as the ground is saturated and may be unstable. When you fish a stretch of open water, toss a night crawler or a small crappie jig right off the edge of the ice with a slow retrieve. The fish are in that area looking for food and nutrients. Hold on to your pole and loosen the drag a little. You will be amazed at what you can catch. For more information, call the Caples Lake Resort at 209-258-8888.

RED LAKE: Thawing is happening on this lake as well. Two weeks ago the lake had 2 feet of ice on it. Reports have come in that the lake is becoming very mushy around the edges. Time to wait until next year to ice fish.


INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: Renee and I have gone the last three weeks to find it still frozen. I received a call from angler Robert Englehardt that reported the lake was still frozen as of last Friday. On Sunday, Renee, our friend Dana Judd and I ventured up to see 95 percent of the lake still frozen. But that is what we had hoped for. The shoreline near the dam had 15 feet of open water, just enough to toss a night crawler. We released four small rainbows voluntarily and a few fish with a long distant release. Kept four nice trout from 2 to 3.5 pounds. I do not use bells when fishing and for good reason. It was about 3:30 p.m., and I looked at Dana’s pole, which I thought was going to break in half from a large fish biting the other end. Dana grabbed his pole to set the hook and the line broke. I think the part of the bell that pinched on to the pole snapped the line, or maybe the fish was just that big and never gave Dana a chance to find out. I know it was a big fish, but we will never really know for sure how big. Well, not until next week when we go back to see if we can find the big one that got away. I can also tell you alcohol and angling does not mix. Two anglers got into a rubber raft and ventured out with a long handle shovel and a claw hammer and started hacking away at the ice edge in their quest to break the ice. After 30 minutes, they had cleared about 10 feet of ice in a circular motion. It was comical to watch, but we were planning for a rescue. We were happy to see they made it back to shore to live another day.

TOPAZ LAKE: With the lake thawing out, the fishing has picked up. Most anglers are catching limits of pan-sized rainbows. There has been an average of three to five tagged fish coming in a week. Last week, Doug Douglas caught the biggest trout brought into the Topaz General Store at 2.12 pounds. Second place was Steve Nielson with a 2.11-pound trout. There are plenty more tagged fish to be caught before the end of the derby in April. So why not get paid for fishing? For more information call the Topaz Lodge at 775-266-3338.

MASON VALLEY WILDLIFE AREA: Located off Highway 95A, between Wabuska and Yerington, Nev., this area opened for fishing Feb. 9. There are restrictions for the area. It has many wetland areas, but only a few are open for anglers. Open areas are Hinkson Slough, North Pond, Crappie, Beaver, Bass and Crappie Ponds. Also, in the area is Fort Churchill Pond. Anglers can expect to catch bass, bluegill, channel catfish and trout in these waters. To get more info on this area go to the Mason Valley Wildlife Management website to find out which areas are also closed or have restricted access. Hinkson and Fort Churchill Ponds were planted with trout last week. This area good for anglers and wild life enthusiast of all kinds so don’t forget to bring your camera.

Good luck on your next adventure. For the Nevada anglers, remember that your fishing license expires on Feb. 28. That is less than a week away. If you get a photo of your catch send it to If you have a question or a report for our local area, call the Naw Line at 775-267-9722.

Good fishin’ and tight lines.

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